Pretty cool Coraline

February 15, 2009

Saw the 3-D animated movie Coraline this afternoon with the fam and the stop animation was pretty impressive.

The 3-D effects reminded me of looking through one of those red plastic viewfinders with the wheels of tiny slide pictures that you manually move through using a lever on the right side. I remember having different wheels for Disney classics like Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty and Robin Hood. Apparently, there are others who have similar memories.

Now I’m curious to read the book by Neil Gaiman.

Friday feel-good coffee

February 13, 2009

It’s amazing how a nice, unassuming gesture can totally make your day.

Went to one of my regular Timothy’s this morning (on Bay, south of Manulife Centre) to get my usual Noisette (mmmmmm!) coffee and as I went to pay for it, was told by the friendly guy behind the counter that if I could answer their “trivia question of the day” correctly, my coffee would be free.

I believe that most Timothy’s partake in this daily trivia question where a free coffee is awarded to the first 10 people who answer the question correctly.

So I  guessed, got it right and ta-da, java on the house! I was thrilled (it’s the little things, right?) and what a great way to start the day. Thanks coffee dude!

Oh, in case you’re wondering, the question was: Name the main ingredient that was used in making the first sandwich for the Earl of Sandwich.

Answer: Roast beef

A book-worthy accomplishment

February 10, 2009

Congratulations to a good friend of mine, Bridget Dewyze, who recently self-published her first children’s book, A Special Gift for Thomas—hopefully there are more to come! Written and illustrated by Bridget, the book is a labour of love dedicated to her daughter, Marijke (cool Dutch name meaning “baby much wished for”). She’s also got some of the book illustrations (cute and colourful watercolour paintings) professionally copied and framed and they can be found hanging at the new ‘new and used’ bookstore, Roxanne Reads. I still have to make it out there myself to check them out along with the bookstore itself.

A Special Gift for Thomas cover

A Special Gift for Thomas cover

Yarn Harlot: Confessions and inspiration

February 9, 2009

Back in January, I picked up the Toronto Metro and came across the article Confessions of a Yarn Harlot in the Odd Jobs section. I love the part where she asks herself: “Think, think. What are you good at? What can you do?” (Her answer: Knitting and writing.) Very admirable and inspirational to be able and take what you love and turn it into something that can support you.

In case they remove the article at some point, I’m including it below:

At age four, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee learned how to read. So her grandmother said: “If you can do something as hard as read, you can do something as simple as knit.”

So the older woman taught the toddler and Pearl-McPhee, who’s now 40, was hooked. “I loved it instantly and completely and I’ve been knitting ever since.”

But the Torontonian never thought she could make a living off her passion. Her grandmother worked as a professional knitter, but it didn’t pay well and the practice had fallen out of fashion by the time Pearl-McPhee grew up.

She studied illustration at Ryerson and then worked as a freelance writer. Then she had kids and become a lactation consultant and a doula. She was working in Toronto hospitals with new moms when SARS hit in 2003. Hospitals began limiting access and suddenly she could not see potential clients.

She went to bed one night saying to herself: “Think, think. What are you good at? What can you do?” Her answer: Knitting and writing.

She got up the next morning and wrote to a literary agent. She started writing proposals and in just a few months had two book deals. Both At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much and Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter came out in 2005, and she’s now published six books. Pearl-McPhee also writes a blog [which won Best Blog from the Canadian Blog Awards in 2008] called Yarn Harlot and does frequent speaking engagements.

First thing almost every morning, Pearl-McPhee deals with her considerable e-mail inbox and blogs. She then knits for a few hours (“So I have something to blog about. I sit around knitting, waiting for something funny to happen to me.”) In the afternoons, she writes. She spins on Tuesdays (she has a few wheels) and buys wool when she’s out at her Wednesday night knitting group and a local yarn shop.

In every gap in her day — when she’s thinking while writing, while her three teens are doing homework, when she’s on the phone — she knits. She even knits while reading e-mail and uses the needle to tap at her keyboard.

Her house is nearly overrun by yarn and ongoing projects.

“Five years ago, that made me messy, now it makes me really focused on my career,” she says. She knits so much, she says it’s become part of her personality. One of her daughters knits too. The rest of the clan? “I have a very warm family,” she says.

“You can pick them out of a crowd, they’re the wooly ones.”